Chart Watch

Week Ending June 8, 2008: For Disturbed, It’s Easy To Be Hard

Chart Watch

Disturbed becomes only the fourth hard rock band to land three consecutive #1 albums on Billboard's album chart. The Chicago-based group follows Led Zeppelin, Van Halen and Staind. Disturbed achieves the feat by opening at #1 with Indestructible. The band also debuted in the top spot with Believe in September 2002 and Ten Thousand Fists in September 2005.

Led Zeppelin landed three straight #1 albums from 1973 through 1976 with Houses Of The Holy, Physical Graffiti and Presence. Van Halen scored from 1986 through 1991 with 5150, OU812 and For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. Staind made the grade from 2001 through 2005 with Break The Cycle, 14 Shades Of Grey and Chapter V.

Metallica has had four #1 albums, but never more than two in a row. Linkin Park and System Of A Down have each had three #1 albums, but again never more than two in a row. (Also, many would call Linkin Park and System of A Down alternative-metal rather than hard rock.)

Disturbed shouldn't get too comfortable in the #1 spot. Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III is set to debut in the top spot next week. Billboard's Keith Caulfield reports that the album could debut with first-week sales in the 850,000 to 950,000 range. That would be the biggest debut since Kanye West's Graduation opened with sales of 957,000 in September.

Lil Wayne's single, "Lollipop," featuring Static Major, tops the 2 million mark in paid downloads this week. The smash is in its 10th consecutive week in the top three on Hot Digital Songs (though it has yet to reach #1). Four other Lil Wayne songs are listed in the top 60 on this chart. "Got Money," featuring T-Pain, dips from #6 to #13; "A Milli" dips from #21 to #24; "You Ain't Got Nuthin' On Me," featuring Fabolous and Juelz Santana, debuts at #42; and "Mr. Carter," featuring Jay-Z, bows at #59.

There's also good news in this week's chart for the battered music industry. Each of the top five albums sold more than 100,000 copies. It's the first time that's been true since Christmas week.

Weezer's Weezer enters the chart at #4. It's the third Weezer album to be titled Weezer, which explains why the group's fans have come to refer to the albums by colors. The band's 1994 debut album is known as The Blue Album. The band's 2001 album is known as The Green Album. This album is The Red Album. Of course, Weezer hardly created color-coding. The Beatles' 1968 album The Beatles is known by one and all as The White Album. Carpenters' Grammy-winning 1971 album Carpenters is known by fans as The Tan Album. Metallica's 1991 monster Metallica is The Black Album.

Journey's Revelation opens at #5. The package consists of two CDs (one with new songs, the other with new renditions of old hits) and a DVD of a recent concert performance. It's the first such package to reach the top five since Garth Brooks' The Ultimate Hits opened at #3 in November. Like Eagles' #1 smash Long Road Out Of Eden, Revelation is a Wal-Mart exclusive. Both acts are signed to Front Line Management, which was founded in the 1970s by industry titan Irving Azoff.

Another Journey album, Greatest Hits, jumps to #1 on the Catalog Albums chart. The album sold 21,000 copies and would have ranked #23 on the big chart if older, catalog albums were allowed to compete there. It's the second time that the album has topped the catalog chart. It first rang the bell in June 2007, on the heels of the finale of HBO's The Sopranos, which featured the band's 1981 smash "Don't Stop Believin." (That song just keeps on chugging on Hot Digital Songs. It's #60 this week, with cumulative sales of 1,672,000 downloads.) Would Revelation be in this week's top five without the huge shot in the arm that The Sopranos gave the band? In a word, no.

Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" tops the Hot Digital Songs chart for the second week in a row with 253,000 paid downloads. This bodes well for the group's Viva La Vida album, which is due in two weeks and will probably send Lil Wayne packing. Coldplay's last album, X&Y, debuted at #1 in June 2005 with sales of 737,000. Viva La Vida is expected to set a record as the album with the biggest first-week digital download tally in music history. That title is currently held by Jack Johnson's Sleep Through The Static, which registered 139,000 paid downloads when it debuted in February.

We're not even halfway through the year and Sleep Through The Static has already sold more digital downloads than any previous album has in an entire calendar year. As of this week, Sleep has sold 278,000 downloads. The #1 most downloaded album of 2004, U2's How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, sold 56,000 downloads in that calendar year. The tally has grown in every succeeding year. Coldplay's X&Y was the #1 digital album of 2005 with sales of 165,000 downloads; The Fray's How To Save A Life was on top for 2006 with sales of 198,000; Maroon5's It Won't Be Soon Before Long was #1 for 2007 with sales of 252,000.

Here's the low-down on this week's top 10 albums.

1. Disturbed, Indestructible, 253,000. This is Disturbed's third consecutive album to debut at #1 with sales north of 230,000 copies. Believe opened with sales of 284,000. Ten Thousand Fists bowed with sales of 239,000. "Indestructible" debuts at #35 on Hot Digital Songs. "Inside The Fire" holds at #105. Disturbed seems to be borrowing from the Michael Jackson playbook. The album cover image for Indestructible recalls Jackson's 1995 hit, HIStory. The title echoes MJ's 2001 release, Invincible.

2. Various Artists, Now 28, 185,000. This is the 22nd volume in the long-running series to debut at #1 or #2-an impressive degree of fan loyalty over nearly a decade. This first-week number marks an improvement over Now 27, which opened with sales of 169,000. And Now 27 had staying power. The album logged eight weeks in the top 10, which is more than a lot of superstars can say these days.

3. Usher, Here I Stand, 145,000. Usher's 2004 blockbuster Confessions spent its first 17 weeks in the top three. This follow-up, which was #1 last week, may not make it past two weeks in the top three. In fairness, it's nearly impossible to follow a phenomenal hit like Confessions with an album that sells even better. Garth Brooks, Backstreet Boys and N Sync are among the few who were able to do it. Countless others fell short. "Love In This Club" dips from #10 to #12 on Hot Digital Songs. "Love In This Club, Part II" drops from #35 to #46; "Moving Mountains" drops from #42 to #61.

4. Weezer, Weezer, 126,000. This is the week's #1 digital album, with 41,000 paid downloads (which are included in the overall total.) This is Weezer's fourth consecutive album to debut in the top five on the big chart. The Green Album opened at #4 in 2001, Maladroit bowed at #3 in 2002 and Make Believe opened at #2 in 2005. "Pork And Beans" jumps from #60 to #47 on Hot Digital Songs.

5. Journey, Revelation, 105,000. This new entry is Journey's eighth top 10 album and its first since Trial By Fire in 1996. Journey has been hitting the album chart since 1975, longer than any other act in this week's top 10. This new entry is the band's first album with new lead singer Arnel Pineda (who the band found on YouTube). Steve Perry, Journey's most famous front-man, left in 2001.

6. Ashanti, The Declaration, 86,000. This new entry is Ashanti's fourth top 10 album. The Grammy-winning R&B singer debuted at #1 with her first two albums in 2002 and 2003, but peaked at #7 with her 2005 album Concrete Rose. This album, her fourth studio release, regains a little chart ground. "The Way That I Love You" opens at #81 on Hot Digital Songs.

7. Various Artists, Sex And The City, 60,000. This slips from #2 to #7 in its second week. It's the #1 soundtrack for the second straight week.

8. Jewel, Perfectly Clear, 48,000. This new entry is Jewel's sixth top 10 album, which is her entire output except for a 1999 holiday album. Her debut, Pieces Of You, was the #2 album of 1997. This is Jewel's first country album. The singer/songwriter was nominated for a Grammy as Best New Artist of 1996, but lost to country star LeAnn Rimes. I guess she figures if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. "Stronger Woman" debuts at #97 on Hot Digital Songs.

9. 3 Doors Down, 3 Doors Down, 45,000. Two weeks after debuting at #1, this slips from #3 to #9. To borrow the group's phraseology, that would be 6 Notches Down. "It's Not My Time" dips from #17 to #18 on Hot Digital Songs.

10. Chris Brown, Exclusive, 36,000. Brown's sophomore album returns to the top 10 for the first time since January on the heels of the release of an expanded edition. The album shot up from #56 last week. The album has sold 1,582,000 copies--more than any other album in this week's top 10. "Forever" jumps from #12 to #7 on Hot Digital Songs. Three earlier hits from the album are also listed. "With You" holds at #52, "Kiss Kiss" jumps from #127 to #109, "Take You Down" jumps from #167 to #129.

Seven albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Leona Lewis' Spirit dips from #5 to #11, Duffy's Rockferry drops from #7 to #12, Mariah Carey's E=MC2 falls from #8 to #13, Frank Sinatra's Nothing But The Best dips from #6 to #16, Death Cab for Cutie's Narrow Stairs drops from #10 to #17, Bun-B's II Trill drops from #4 to #19 and Al Green's Lay It Down dives from #9 to #28.

Now That's What I Call Classic Rock! opens at #20. Fifteen of the 20 songs are from the '70s. The set also stretches back to the '60s for hits by The Who, the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Creedence Clearwater Revival and jumps into the '80s for hits by Rush and George Thorogood & The Destroyers.

Radiohead's single-disk The Best Of opens at #26, while a double-disk edition bows at #81. The band's last four studio albums have made the top three, but the band has had only one top 40 single on the Hot 100--"Creep" in 1993. That explains why this is called a Best Of and not a Greatest Hits. "Creep" enters Hot Digital Songs at #25, the band's 1996 song "High & Dry" bows at #91; and its 1998 song "Karma Police" bows at #104.

Gavin Rossdale's solo debut, Wanderlust, opens at #33. Rossdale led Bush to a series of hit albums in the '90s, including the smash 1995 debut Sixteen Stone. The band's 1996 follow-up, Razorblade Suitcase, spent two weeks at #1, before it was dislodged by No Doubt's Tragic Kingdom. Apparently there were no hard feelings, as Rossdale married Gwen Stefani in 2002.

Taylor Swift's debut album tops the 3 million mark in sales this week, an impressive achievement in an era of diminished expectations. Only seven albums on the current top 200 have sold more copies. Eagles' Long Road Out Of Eden will probably top the 3 million mark next week. Its current tally is 2,993,000. The band's achievement may be even more impressive than Swift's. She's young and new and photogenic. Eagles are, well, middle-aged veterans. They've been charting since 1972--the Dark Ages to many of today's most avid music fans. Of the 10 albums on the current top 200 that have sold the most copies, Long Road Out Eden is the only one by a performer who first hit the charts before 1997.

Up & Down: Contemporary Christian artist Jeremy Camp's 2006 album Beyond Measure re-enters the chart at #98, with an 833% sales increase over last week. That's the biggest increase of any non-debuting album. Fergie's four-song The Dutchess EP falls from #46 to #198 in its second week, with a sales decline of 73%. That's the biggest drop of any album in the top 200.

Heads Up: In addition to Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III (see above item), next week's top debuts will include Jakob Dylan's solo debut Seeing Things, Alanis Morissette's Flavors Of Entanglement, Emmylou Harris' All I Intended To Be, Plies' Definition Of Real, N*E*R*D's Seeing Sounds and My Morning Jacket's Evil Urges.

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